Monday, August 27, 2012

Robot Hall of Fame 2012 endorsements

If the news media can endorse political candidates, I figure I should be able to endorse my picks for induction into the Robot Hall of Fame.
This year, the public is able to vote from a list of nominees in four categories.
Here are my selections for the 2012 inductees to the robot shrine.
In the industrial and service category, I picked iRobot’s PackBot military robot. The other nominees are cool, but the PackBot has saved the lives of countless U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The PackBot has been a workhorse, disposing of road-side bombs and conducting reconnaissance missions. It has paved the way for future, more capable robots to be used by soldiers and police forces.
In the education and consumer category, I chose VEX Robotics Design System, a kit for designing and building robots for schools and competitions, including the FIRST Tech Challenge. It’s had a big impact on the lives of many future engineers.
In the research category, I selected BigDog, a four-legged robot the size of a small mule developed by Boston Dynamics for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Anybody who’s seen the YouTube videos of this robot in action is sure to be amazed.
And finally in the entertainment category, I picked WALL-E from the 2008 Disney Pixar movie about a lovable waste-collecting robot who finds love. WALL-E is going to have some stiff competition from Rosie the robot maid from the “The Jetsons” however.

Photo: iRobot’s PackBot in action.

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